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Trails

At REGUA we have an extensive network of trails that take us to some of the best preserved parts of the Atlantic Forest, passing through the restored floodplains to rivers and waterfalls that until a few years ago were untouched. All our trails offer magnificent birdwatching opportunities and it is one of the easiest places in the Atlantic Forest to see a large number of bird species.   

Yellow Trail/Wetland

Terrain: Restored wetland and replanted secondary forest

Post Colour: Yellow (every 50 meters)

Starting point: Near the Conservation Centre

Difficulty: Easy – flat, wide trail, some mud after rain.

Length: 2.8 km (Circular)

Duration: 2 - 5 hours

Altitude: 35 - 50 meters

What's good to bring: Plenty of water (it can get very hot), hat, sunscreen and binoculars. 

Access: Dawn to dusk for day visitors and 24 hours for lodge guests.

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Trails

Our most used tourist trails start near the Conservation Centre and are well signposted with coloured signs every 50 meters indicating the trail you are on and these are regularly maintained. Three of these trails start from the Conservation Centre, where there is a map showing the routes. 

Day visitors are welcome to walk these trails during the day. There is a suggested donation of R$10 per person towards our work.  

Please contact us to check availability at weekends before arrival via media or email.  If at any time the main entrance gate is closed, please do not enter.  

Day visitors can also arrange to walk the Waterfall/Green Trail with one of our guides.  This must be pre-booked, there is a charge of R$ 100.00 per group (up to a maximum of 10) payable on arrival to the guide.  The meeting place is the Conservation Centre.

Lodge guests have free access to all our trails and free transportation to the start of the trails where required. 

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Brown/Forest Trail

Terrain: Replanted and naturally regenerating secondary forest, and forest streams

Post colour: Brown (every 50 meters)

Departure point: Near the Conservation Centre

Difficulty: Easy - The trail narrows in places. Some mud after rain.

Length: 2.5 km. The trail loops back and rejoins the Yellow trail at the sign 1400m.

Duration: 2.5-5 hours.

Altitude: 35 - 50 meters

What's good to bring: Water, hat, sunscreen, insect repellent and binoculars.

Access: Dawn to dusk for day visitors and 24 hours for lodge guests.

The REGUA wetland is one of our resounding conservation success stories. This area was once a native swampy forest comprising water-loving Tabebuia cassinoides trees and large tree ferns, smothered with epiphytic plants including philodendrons, bromeliads and orchids, but during the 1980s the swamp was drained and the trees cleared to make way for cattle pasture and agricultural fields. 

In 2005 REGUA began create a new wetland on the site, converting the fields to a mosaic of lakes, channels, reedbeds, wet grass, Tabebuia cassinoides stands and lowland forest. Since then the area has seen an enormous increase in biodiversity

Over 220 bird species have been recorded at the wetland, including the scarce Masked Duck, the Near-threatened Black-legged Dacnis, Boat-billed Heron, Pinnated Bittern, Capped Heron, and several species of rails. The wetland is also an excellent place to watch for soaring raptors during the late morning, with Rufous-thighed Kite, Crane Hawk, Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle, Laughing Falcon and Aplomado Falcon all frequently picked out amongst the kettling Lesser Yellow-headed, Turkey and Black Vultures.

Many local rarities have been recorded at the wetland, such as Sungrebe, South American Tern, Black Skimmer, Stygian Owl, Yellow-billed Cuckoo and Black-backed Water-Tyrant, along with two ‘firsts’ for Rio de Janeiro state – Greenish Elaenia and Azure Gallinule.

Reptiles such as the endemic Broad-snouted Caiman Caiman latirostris, have naturally moved back into the area, along with mammals such as Capybara Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris, Paca Agouti paca, Southern River Otter Lontra longicaudis, Crab-eating Fox Cerdocyon thous and top predators including Puma Puma concolor.

We recommend half day visits, with a suggested morning departure of 06:00 and suggested afternoon departure of 14:30. At dusk Chestnut-capped Blackbirds flock to the reedbeds to roost, Cattle Egrets gather in the bare trees, and rails become more active and vocal.

The wetland is situated at a very low altitude and has a hot and humid climate. Dehydration and sun exposure are the biggest risks so please ensure you take plenty of drinking water with you along with a hat and sunscreen.

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In 2004 REGUA began replanting much of the land near the lodge with native trees. This trail passes through these areas, which are being colonised by a wealth of wildlife.

As the trees mature and the young forest here becomes more established, the open country bird species such as Grassland Sparrow and Yellowish Pipit have been replaced by forest dwelling species including Ruddy Quail-Dove, Maroon-bellied Parakeet and Rufous-capped Motmot, as well as species associated with scrub and open forest such as Blue Ground-Dove and Sooretama Slaty-Antshrike. The Near-threatened Black-legged Dacnis is now regularly found along this trail during the austral winter, and even the rare Shrike-like Cotinga is starting to show up here. This trail is also a reliable spot to find lekking male White-bearded Manakins.

Mammals found on this trail include Big-eared Opossum Didelphis aurita, Brown-throated Sloth Bradypus variegatus, Nine-banded Armadillo Dasypus novemcinctus, Capybara Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris, Red-rumped Agouti Dasyprocta leporina, Lowland Paca Agouti paca, and Puma Puma concolor.

We recommend a half day morning visit to this trail, with a suggested morning departure of 06:00. The trail is situated at a very low altitude and has a hot and humid climate. Dehydration and sun exposure are the biggest risks so please ensure you take plenty of drinking water with you along with a hat and sunscreen.

One of our canopy towers, the São José Tower, lies a short distance from this trail and is well worth visiting for the view across the Guapiaçu valley alone. The trail to the tower can produce bird species found in more mature forest interiors such as Southern Antpipit, Surucua Trogon, Scaled Antbird, and Grey-hooded Attila. Please allow at least an extra hour for visiting the tower, and more time if bird activity is high.

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Green/Waterfall Trail

Terrain: Secondary lowland forest

Post color: Green (every 50 meters)

Starting point: Casa Pesquisa

Difficulty: Easy - flat wide trail, some mud after rain.

Length: 2.5 km (Linear)

Duration: full day

Altitude: Between 170 to 1,300 meters.

What to bring: Binoculars, camera, hat, insect repellent, plenty of water, sturdy walking boots, a waterproof jacket.

Access: By appointment and guide for day visitors (R$100 fee, for group up to 10 people maximum, payable to guide). Meeting point the Conservation Centre.

Lodge guests, also with guide by arrangement with the lodge manager.

It is recommended to start this trail very early, as it is a considerable distance.

This scenic and fairly easy trail passes through well established secondary forest into selectively logged primary humid evergreen forest with a beautiful waterfall.  

We recommend a whole day birding this trail with a suggested start of 06:30, and taking a packed lunch to eat at the waterfall.

This part of the reserve has access for research and booked guided walks only.  Keeping the trail quiet and clean, respecting its wildlife and biodiversity is essential to maintain the balance of the forest and protect the birds, mammals and other animals that inhabit this area, such as Southern Muriqui, Puma and Lowland tapir.

Beware the rocks around the waterfall are extremely slippery – please take care.

Day Visitors: Booking is essential at any time of the week. There is a fee of R$100 for a group of up to 10 people. This should be paid to the Guide on arrival. The meeting point is at REGUA headquarters and the guide's waiting time is 30 minutes maximum!

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Red/Elfin Forest trail

Terrain: Selectively logged primary lowland forest

Post Color: Red

Starting point: Casa Pesquisa

Difficulty: Hard

Length: 8 km

Duration: 7 hours

Altitude: 950 meters

What's good to bring: Drinking water, appropriate shoes, snack, hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, binoculars and raincoat. 

Access: Only open to lodge guests. It is recommended to start this trail very early, as it is quite long.

This is a fantastic trail ranges from 400 to 950 metres above sea level and passes through beautiful primary forest, stunted elfin forest and stunning scenery. The trail is long and very steep in places, but the variety and abundance of birds and the outside chance of finding Southern Woolly Spider Monkey make the effort very worthwhile.

Make sure you take plenty of drinking water with you.

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Casa Anibal/4x4

Terrain: Lowland humid forest

Signal color: No signage

Starting Point: Quebra-pau

Difficulty: Medium - after rain the path can be muddy and the stream fast flowing

Length: 

Altitude: 350m

Duration: Full day with a picnic lunch at Casa Anibal, or half day returning to the lodge for lunch

Departure time: Flexible (We suggest at 07:00)

Duration: From 2 to 4 hours

What to bring: Binoculars, camera, sunscreen, hat, insect repellent, drinking water, sturdy hiking boots and a waterproof jacket.

Access: Open to lodge guests. 

After leaving the vehicle, the walk goes through pasture, over a small stream and into an area of restored forest, which REGUA planted in 2010. The trail continues uphill, into well-established secondary forest, this continues towards a ridge following an old path which eventually ends at the old remains of the house of Aníbal, at an altitude of 352 meters.

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Trails

At REGUA we have an extensive network of trails that take us to some of the best preserved parts of the Atlantic Forest, passing through the restored floodplains to rivers and waterfalls that until a few years ago were untouched. All our trails offer magnificent birdwatching opportunities as well as butterflies, frogs, reptiles, orchids, bromeliads, and the possibility of sighting mammals.

Our most used tourist trails are well signposted with coloured signs every 50 meters indicating the trail you are on, and these are regularly maintained. Three of these trails start from the Conservation Centre, where there is a map showing the routes. 

Day visitors are welcome to walk these trails during the day. You can check latest information before arrival via our social media links. However, if the main entrance gate is closed, please do not enter.  

Day visitors wishing to walk any other trails, must pre-book and arrange a guide, there is a charge of R$ 100.00 per group (up to a maximum of 10) payable on arrival to the guide.  The meeting place is our Conservation Centre.

Lodge guests have free access to all our trails and free transportation to the start of the trails where required. 

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Kate and Peter Tobias, orchid enthusiasts who visited REGUA with members of OrquidaRio, kindly made a donation for creating a garden to show the variety of flora in the Mata Atlântica.  Construction started in 2019 of what would become the "Jardim da Mata Atlântica" at REGUA’s headquarters.   A metal structure, screens, rocks and tree trunks were the main materials used to shape this new space.  The garden now serves as an environmental education tool for visitors, presenting a sample of the diversity of epiphytes found in the best preserved areas  by REGUA.

When we entered the coronavirus pandemic (early 2020), Raquel Locke, vice-president of REGUA, together with park rangers Rildo da Rosa, Messias Gomes and Matheus Cardoso began to "rescue" epiphytes (orchids and bromeliads) found on the ground of the trails, after heavy rains that resulted in the fall of branches with all the plants that were on them.   Additionally, where century-old trees fell, they recovered any plants which were rehoused in the new garden. 

 

Bromeliads and orchids use other larger plants only as support, without parasitism. Epiphytic plants draw nutrients directly from atmospheric moisture. Epiphytic plants play a relevant ecological role in forests, providing different resources such as food and shelter for different groups of animals.

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